A young priest ordained about five years ago goes to see an older priest who happens to be his spiritual director. Here’s part of their conversation:
The younger priest says, “I just got a call from the Clergy Office and I was told that they want to make me a pastor. I hesitated and then said, ‘I’m not sure I’m ready’. But the Vicar for Clergy said that he thought I was and that the Bishop really wanted me to do this. So, of course, out of obedience to the bishop, I said that I would. So, when I asked where I was going he said he couldn’t tell me—-that I would have to wait for my meeting with the Bishop. So now I’m a nervous wreck wondering where they are going to send me! And I’ve been looking at the Catholic Directory trying to figure out who might be retiring or who said that they wanted a change.”
Then the young guy asked the older guy, “Do you have any idea where you think I will end up?
And the older priest smiled and asked, “Did you pray about this?” The young priest looks at him and says, “Well, sure, I’ve been saying my Office (Morning and Evening Prayer), the Rosary and all those things…
The older priest interrupted him and said, “No, I don’t mean that. Did you sit in silence and ask God to help you?” And the young priest said, “Yes. I guess, but I need you to help me figure out where I’m going to be assigned. I know God is part of all this, but I have to use my own skills, too, don’t I?”
The older priest says, “If you want my advice, I’d leave it in God’s hands. Don’t try to pick your next assignment, let God pick it for you.”
The young priest just stared at him and didn’t say anything. The older priest then said, “Where is your faith? Don’t you believe that God is involved in all that’s happening to you. So, turn to Christ. He has brought you this far, he’s not going to abandon you now. Calm down and realize that God is the one in charge. This is not about the Clergy Office choosing your assignment, or you trying to maneuver to get the assignment you want. You’re not choosing, and the bishop isn’t choosing, either! Let God pick the parish. Remember what Jesus says: “Oh, ye of little faith”.
Our readings today (this evening) are about the power of faith, and having confidence in God. Particularly, the Gospel tells us that faith is the greatest force in the world. But sometimes life’s experiences make it difficult for us to accept this. How often do we find ourselves saying what the Prophet Habakkuk says, “How long, O Lord? I cry for help, but you do not listen!”
A strong faith doesn’t mean we won’t suffer from time to time, and be confused sometimes in life. It doesn’t mean that our crosses will be taken away. But a strong faith does show us where to turn when we face difficulties: to God. God does answer the prophet’s prayer and he promises that he will act, that he will restore Israel’s fortunes, but, if you notice, he doesn’t give all the details as to how he will accomplish this. Actually God is saying that it may take longer than the prophet would like: “If it delays, wait for it.
The disciples ask Jesus, “increase our faith, and Jesus says, “Use the faith that I gave you. It can move mountains”. Even that which looks completely impossible becomes possible.
So, we need to pray for the grace to have faith. Let God be God and don’t think that it’s all about you and what you can figure out on your own. Don’t let your fears paralyze you. Turn to Christ and realize that he’s more involved than you think. Pray for the grace to have faith and live in peace, for today.
Let me leave you with these words. Picture Christ saying them directly to you to you.
Try to see things from my perspective. Try to view the world through me. When little things don’t go as you had hoped, look to Me and say with a light heart, Oh well. Doing this can protect you from being burdened with an accumulation of petty cares and frustrations. If you practice this diligently, you will make a life-changing discovery: You realize that most of the things that worry you are not important. If you shrug them off immediately and return your focus to me, you will walk through your days with lighter steps and a joyful heart. When serious problems come your way, you will have more reserves for dealing with them. You will not have squandered your energy on petty problems. You may even reach the point where you can agree with the apostle Paul, that all your troubles are light and momentary, compared with the eternal glory being achieved by them.